Wednesday, February 8, 2012

time and mistakes

Some things take time.  It's true.  Particularly in the writing/publishing biz. 

After months of creative inspiration, ruthless editing, and open critiquing, a writer ends up with a manuscript.  Whether it is a four page picture book, or a 400 page novel, one has to decide what to do with it.  I imagine there are countless manuscripts tucked away in drawers or hidden in computer files, just waiting to get out, waiting for someone to get up the courage to mail the words off.  But many of these inspired words DO get to see the sunlight and are sent off to a publishing house for comptetition in the slush pile.

Like any hopeful newbie writer, I occasionally take time to peruse the latest Writer's Market publishing lists, or surf the web and seek out houses that are taking what I have to offer.  I recently spent a little time with the 2011 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market book. It is a fabulous resource. Listing editor's names, what they are acquiring this year, recent titles they have published,  how they pay, and the average time it takes for a submission to receive a response.  This waiting period can range from two months to twelve, and is an often painful time for many writers.  Some listings even note how long after acceptance a piece might be published.
I find this bit of info particularly interesting, and fairly helpful.  It is a bit of a reality check to see that even if your manuscript is accepted sometime in the next year by someone, it could be up to two years after that before your story hits the shelves and actually appears to the world in book form.  It takes time for a publisher to hire an illustrator, do major editing, put the whole thing together, and keep all parties happy along the way.  This, like all other parts of book making, is a process. 

As I flipped through the pages of the Market guide I was impressed at several publisher's claims of less than a year for book publication.  And then there was Arthur A Levine Books, a pretty well known house.  The printed text says that it takes a mere 112 years from time of acceptance to book publication.  Now that's impressive.  Talk about leaving a legacy for your grandchildren! 

It's good to remember that all things in this world do take time.  Not to mention that even the most professional and serious amongst us make mistakes.

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